Susan Denning



An optimist shines
a flashlight in the dark
and the dark scatters
like a comet's tail.

I envy his swagger,
his handyman's trust
in the right tool for the job.

He tells me it's more than
the glass half empty or full.
Every ritual tries to bridge
the distance between
the angels and what doesn't last.

If God is everywhere
and the devil lurks in details,
there must be somewhere
in between. That's where
I want to live.


When Sex Starts Like Math

You're doing it wrong. Sex starts
as a shiver or falling, your body
a sudden spark in someone's arms.

If you lean in for a kiss and all you get
is an equation of tongues, run.

Sometimes you'll dream of hotel rooms,
your skin rubbed against fine drapery.
Sometimes you'll long for a ceremony of limbs.

If you try to solve for x,
you'll be trapped by arcs and curves,
overwhelmed by a calculus
of intimate gestures when all you need
is the breath to say, don't move.

There. Now there again.